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Dr John Koch

BA MDiv STM ThD MA(EdAdmin)

Emeritus Lecturer

Dr John Koch taught at ALC from 1977 to 2000 in the area of Pastoral Theology. On his retirement from full-time teaching, the November 2000 edition of the Lutheran Theological Journal (LTJ 34/3) contained an editorial tribute and articles written in his honour. John served as principal from 1998 to 2000 and was a lecturer at Lutheran Teachers College from 1970 to 1976.


John Koch was born in Lameroo, SA on 4 July 1933, the third son of Ben Koch and Esther nee Schmidt.

He began studying for the ministry at Concordia Seminary in Adelaide, and completed his studies at Concordia Seminary, St Louis. He graduated there in 1959 and went on to obtain a Master’s Degree. He married Karen Freimund in South Lyon, Michigan in 1960.

After graduation, he served as the weekend pastor of a small Ozark congregation in Pilot Knob, Missouri. During the week, he worked for the Missouri Synod at the Concordia Historical Institute. This arrangement continued from June 1960 to June 1962. In that year, he and Karen returned to Australia via London and a short pastoral locum in England. He was ordained at Gawler on 19 November 1962 by Rev Oscar Minge and called to parish ministry in Temora NSW from 1963, where they valued the close, supportive network of parish members. He and Karen were blessed with four children.

In 1970 John was called to serve on the faculty of the Lutheran Teachers College in North Adelaide. In 1977 he was called to be a lecturer in pastoral theology at Luther Seminary. From 1998 to 2000 he was the principal of the reconstituted seminary. At his retirement, it was written of him:

John's lecturing covered a wide range of subjects including Christian education, pastoral care and counselling—with a special interest in marriage counselling—homiletics, ministry to the family, Christian art, and Australian church history. His expertise in these areas made him a frequent contributor to conferences of pastors, teachers, school principals, women and youth of the church. For the same reason he was a member of boards of the church dealing with Christian education, congregational life, world mission and church archives.

John has shown deep concern for the church, its congregational life and mission, for the educational program of the church through its school system, and for the theological education of future pastors, teachers and other lay people. These interests have been informed by guest lectureships in Papua New Guinea (Martin Luther, Lae, 1985), the United States (Concordia, St Louis, 1988) and Canada (Concordia, Edmonton, 1995). In 1988 he was resident scholar at the Lutheran School of Theology in Chicago, and he served in 1994 as a research director of the National Lutheran Life Survey.

In retirement, he has continued to pursue the outdoor activities he loves: fishing, golfing and painting. He was Graduate Pastor Supervisor in 2001 and 2002 and has since served as interim pastor or locum in many congregations and parishes in most states of Australia and in New Zealand.

ALC positions held

  • Lecturer, Lutheran Teachers College, 1970–1976
  • Lecturer, Luther Seminary, 1977–2000
  • Principal, Luther Seminary, 1998–2000

Qualifications in detail

  • BA (Concordia Seminary [legally Concordia College], St Louis, 1956)
  • BD (Concordia Seminary, St Louis, and subsequently replaced by the Master of Ministry degree through regulations adopted by the American Association of Theological Schools (AATS), 1960)
  • STM (Concordia Seminary, St Louis, 1960)
  • ThD (Concordia Seminary, St Louis, 1968)
  • MA(EdAdmin) (Concordia Teachers College [now part of Concordia University], River Forest [suburb of Chicago], 1980)

Papers and publications



From strength to strength: a history of the LLL 1921-1996, Lutheran Laypeople’s League, Adelaide SA.


When the Murray meets the Mississippi: a survey of Australian and American Lutheran contacts 1838-1974, Lutheran Publishing House, Adelaide SA.


Relations between the Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod and the Evangelical Lutheran Church of Australia 1846-1965, Lutheran Laymen’s League, Adelaide SA.

Brief history of the Lutheran Laymen’s League of Australia Incorporated 1921-1971, Lutheran Laymen’s League, Adelaide SA.


The German pioneers in the Temora District 1880-1914, Bradley and Sons, Temora NSW.



‘Giving one’s life to Jesus: conversion theology and decision psychology,’ Lutheran Theological Journal 34/3, 154–160.


‘Australian theological perceptions and seminary education,’ Lutheran Theological Journal 30/3, 142–151.


‘Viewing the LCA in a glass darkly,’ Lutheran Theological Journal 28/3, 106–115.


‘Luther Seminary: the first 25 years,’ 1992-1993 Yearbook, Lutheran Church of Australia, 24–49.


‘The worship service and outreach,’ Lutheran Theological Journal 25/1, 71–81.


‘Challenges confronting Lutheran schools,’ Lutheran Theological Journal 24/2, 53–61.


‘Room for whom? Asking this question requires that we recognise that we are called to invite others to the great banquet of our Lord,’ Official report of the Twenty-Second Regular Convention of the Lutheran Church of Australia, New South Wales District.


‘Visitors’ observations on the Australian Lutheran household,’ Lutheran Theological Journal 22/3, 165–75.


‘New directions in seminary education,’ Lutheran Theological Journal 21/2, 68–81.


‘The sermon, communication theory and seminary education,’ Lutheran Theological Journal 20/2&3, 108–115.


‘Discipline in the confirmation setting,’ Lutheran Theological Journal 15/1&2, 61–68.


‘Living Words of God and teaching ministry,’ Lutheran Theological Journal 13/2&3, 82–89.

‘Not only a changeless Christ for a changing world but also a changing Christ for a changeless world,’ Proceedings, Twelfth Regular Synodical Convention of the LCA, Victoria District, 38–43.


‘Does God’s therapeutic approach provide a model for the Christian counsellor?’ Lutheran Theological Journal 12/1, 7–12.


Editor: Extracts pertinent to a philosophy of Lutheran education from the Australian Lutheran 1913–1966, Lutheran Teachers College, Adelaide SA.


‘Contextualisation and a confessional church,’ Lutheran Theological Journal 19/3, 131–141.


‘Some comments on close communion within the context of the Lutheran Church of Australia,’ Lutheran Theological Journal 8/2, 61–66.

Report on the provision of materials for use in the Sunday Schools of the Lutheran Church of Australia, Board of Primary Education, Adelaide SA.


Studies in Australian Lutheranism 1838 to the present, Lutheran Teachers College, Adelaide SA.

‘Responsibilities and roles of the Christian teacher,’ Colleague 1/2, 5–8.


July 1972 survey of Lutheran primary school teachers of the Lutheran Church of Australia, Board of Primary Education, Adelaide SA.


‘Worship ways,’ Prism 3/2, 6–8.

‘Timely forms for our mission,’ Congregational helps, Lutheran Church of Australia, Adelaide SA.

‘The End Time call for pointed witnessing,’ Congregational helps, Lutheran Church of Australia, Adelaide SA.

‘To worship is to use time wisely,’ Congregational helps, Lutheran Church of Australia, Adelaide SA.

‘The controversy within the Missouri Synod during the first quarter of the twentieth century on the nature of justifying faith,’ Concordia Historical Institute Quarterly 44/1, 6–8.

‘Christian education in the home,’ Proceedings, Sixth Regular Synodical Convention of the Lutheran Church of Australia, Victoria District, 30–37.


‘Friedrich Bente on World War I in Lehre und Wehre,’ Concordia Historical Institute Quarterly 42/3, 133–135.